The Weekend That Was and The Week Ahead
By Richie Smith
Apr 5, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Padres pitcher Jason Marquis (21) in the dugout during the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
That week 1 probably wasn’t how Bud Black drew it up prior to the season.
After losing two of three in New York to start the year, the Padres got swept in Colorado over the weekend. After a couple of relatively close losses on Friday and Saturday, San Diego was blown out and never competitive on Sunday.
You never want to make too much of a big deal after only one week, but one could easily make the argument that only the Astros, Marlins, and Pirates have looked worse than the Padres so far in 2013, and even that is debatable considering each of those other teams have played at least one above-average team (Rangers, Nationals, and Dodgers, respectively). The Padres offense has struggled mightily to get going, even in the friendly hitting park of Coors Field. It really shows how much the team misses Chase Headley and Yasmani Grandal in the middle of the lineup. The Padres have only scored 14 runs through six games and have the worst run differential in the entire league by far at -26.
Now that we’ve examined the ugliness, let’s turn our heads to the upcoming week and see if the Padres can get on track, as they open their home schedule on Tuesday against the Dodgers.
L.A. has started off playing good baseball, as they went 4-2 last week. On Tuesday, Clayton Richard will look to forget about his poor first outing as he takes on Josh Beckett in the opener. On Wednesday, the Padres lone bright spot in the rotation so far Eric Stults will go up against Chad Billingsley. The series finale will include Padres veteran Jason Marquis and Dodger newcomer and former AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke. The silver lining is that the Padres avoid facing Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kewshaw in this series.
Of course, one of the big story lines is Adrian Gonzalez returning to San Diego for the first time in 2013. I’m sure he’ll get a warm reception, but that’s primarily because they’ll be more Dodger fans than Padres fans in attendance. My prediction for the series is that the Dodgers will take two of three from the Padres.
The weekend series will give the Padres a chance to avenge this past weekends sweep when the Rockies come to Petco for a three game set. It’s too early to tell what the pitching match ups will be, but given that both the Padres and Rockies have three games and a day off before Friday, we’ll likely see some of the same pitching match ups as we did this past weekend. I think the offense will finally get going a bit and the Padres will win two of three this series.
One thing I will be paying close attention to is how the ball park plays with the new outfield dimensions. Right field has been moved in 11 feet, right-center 11 feet as well, and left-center 12 feet. While we likely won’t know the complete ramifications until the end of the season, I’m sure the fences will, at the very least, make it “feel” much closer for the players than last season.